Working Together: The Photographers of the Kamoinge Workshop
November 21, 2020–March 28, 2021
Working Together is an unprecedented exhibition that chronicles the formative years of the Kamoinge Workshop, a collective of Black photographers established in New York City in 1963. The word “Kamoinge” (Gikuyu for “a group of people acting together”) reflects the ideal that animated the collective. In the early years, at a time of dramatic social upheaval, members met regularly to show and discuss each other’s work and to share their critical perspectives, technical and professional experience, and friendship. Deeply committed to photography’s power as an art form, they boldly and inventively depicted their communities as they saw and participated in them, rather than as they were often portrayed. This presentation focuses on the influential work of early Kamoinge members during the first two decades of the collective. It includes approximately 140 photographs by members: Anthony Barboza, Adger Cowans, Daniel Dawson, Louis Draper, Al Fennar, Ray Francis, Herman Howard, Jimmie Mannas, Herb Randall, Herb Robinson, Beuford Smith, Ming Smith, Shawn Walker, and Calvin Wilson. The photographs provide a powerful and poetic perspective of the 1960s and 1970s during the heart of the Black Arts Movement.
Working Together: The Photographers of the Kamoinge Workshop is organized by Dr. Sarah Eckhardt, associate curator of modern and contemporary art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The installation at the Whitney is overseen by Carrie Springer, assistant curator, with Mia Matthias, curatorial assistant.
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